Rep. Bob Nonini, R-Coeur d’Alene, now says his controversial bills to make permanent cuts in laws governing school funding and teacher contracts may not be needed at all, what with big money coming Idaho’s way from the federal stimulus package. “It looks like Idaho could be in line for $160 million and some of that money could be available as soon as next week,” Nonini said. Some of the federal money is designed specifically “so teachers don’t get cuts in salary, teachers don’t get laid off and programs don’t get cut,” Nonini said. “We all thought it would be best to just not rush into the hearings.”
The stimulus money is “good news,” the House education chairman said. “We didn’t present this bill yesterday because we were mean-spirited or we were trying to get after anybody. Some things have changed just in the last few hours.” Idaho may end up not having to cut public schools at all, Nonini said. “That’s what we’re hoping - that’d definitely be the greatest thing, and that’s what it’s looking like.”
Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.
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